ITHACA, NY — The Park Center for Independent Media (PCIM) at Ithaca College has announced that its second annual Izzy Award for special achievement in independent media will go to investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill, whose work in 2009 helped elevate the issue of abuse by military contractors to front-page news.
Scahill is the author of the international best-seller “Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army.” He will appear on campus to accept the award on Monday, April 19. Details of the event, which is free and open to the public, will be announced at a later date.
The Izzy Award is named after the legendary dissident journalist I.F. “Izzy” Stone, who launched his muckraking newsletter “I.F. Stone’s Weekly” in 1953 during the height of the McCarthy witch hunts. Stone, who died in 1989, exposed government deceit and corruption while championing civil liberties, racial justice and international diplomacy.
Citing his “persistence, independence and journalistic courage” in exposing military contractor abuses and human rights abuses in Iraq and Afghanistan, the judges honored Scahill as someone who “embodies the independent spirit of Izzy Stone.”
In continuous reporting throughout 2009, Scahill followed the trail of military contractors that he’d first pursued with his 2007 “Blackwater” book. His work appeared in many independent media outlets, including “The Nation,” “Democracy Now!” “AlterNet,” “The Huffington Post” and his own “Rebel Reports” blog. Mainstream news organizations eventually picked up the story, and this past January on MSNBC, Rachel Maddow ended an interview with Scahill about security contractors in post-earthquake Haiti by saying, “Whenever I read stories like this, even when you don’t write them, I think of you.”
Based in the Roy H. Park School of Communications at Ithaca College, the Park Center for Independent Media was launched in 2008 as a national center for the study of media outlets that create and distribute content outside traditional corporate systems.
Judges of the Izzy Award are PCIM director Jeff Cohen; University of Illinois communications professor and author Robert W. McChesney; and Linda Jue, director and executive editor of the San Francisco-based G.W. Williams Center for Independent Journalism.
“The judges chose Scahill for his relentless efforts in 2009 to push these issues into mainstream debate,” said Cohen. “We are awed by Scahill’s success, and also by the sheer number of outstanding candidates for the award this year; both reflect the growing importance of independent media in our country.”
The inaugural Izzy Award was presented last year to blogger Glenn Greenwald and “Democracy Now!” host/executive producer Amy Goodman.For more information, visit https://www.ithaca.edu/indy/izzy or contact Jeff Cohen at Jcohen@ithaca.edu or (607) 274-1330.